Sunday, June 6, 2010
You are what you eat! So what are we eating?
In May 2008 I read a book that radically changed my personal conviction and future choices, in one part of my life. It changed my focus and gave me a new understanding of the food we choose to eat. It challenged me on the importance of what we eat and the impact this does have, on the long term health of our body.
You could say “I saw the light”, that “I had a wakeup call”, whatever term you want to use, just months after my fortieth birthday, after reading this book, it became apparent to me that a shift needed to occur, for me to be assured of good health for the second half of my life.
It was not my intention to discover this new thinking, I was by no means searching for it, I had felt that I had always eaten (in my mind anyway) reasonably well and that I was in turn feeding my family a healthy diet too. I stumbled across this particular book, in a second hand book shop window in Narrabeen. I was on my way past, having just done the weekly banking for our business, it caught my eye in the window, its title “The Miracle of Fasting”. Now I am not what you would call an avid reader, I am certainly not someone you would consider to be widely read or up to date with the latest bestseller. Often it can take me weeks to get through a book, if I finish it at all!
I was attracted to such a title for varied reasons and I read this book in three days, I couldn’t put it down and what I actually got out of the book, was certainly not amongst the reasons I initially chose to buy it!
“The Miracle of Fasting” is quite a radical book in my opinion, it is written by a man called Paul C Bragg N.D., Ph.D., an American, a vegan, he calls himself a “Life Extension Specialist” who spends his time travelling the US holding “miracle health crusades”. His thinking being if you attend a “miracle health crusade”, you may never need to attend a “miracle healing crusade”!
In this book he talks of the importance of what you are putting into your body and the relation it has to much of the sickness and disease we encounter in the Western world. He also talks about the power of the body to heal itself, particularly when we fast for a season to rid our body of toxins that have built up over time and then begin to feed our body the right stuff for it to heal. As I said at the beginning, it is in my opinion a radical book, not for everyone, so I took from it what worked for me and left the rest.
The things I took on board were to be more aware of what I was eating and feeding my family. We began to eat smaller portions at meal times, drink more water and radically reduced our intake of highly processed foods, trans fats, refined sugar & salt. We began to include more fibre in our diet, changing much of our carbohydrates to brown and wholemeal, eating more fruit and vegetables, introducing pulses and legumes into my cooking. We started reading labels in the supermarket, buying organic fruit & vegetables and over time most of the produce we now consume is organic.
This was such a timely shift for us as a family, Paul and I in our early forties, both lost a reasonable amount of weight and felt a lot healthier, and with three teenage kids in the house, it was a great time for them to eat well for their future health too. It was also a great refocus for me, prior to my re entry into the cooking world and the janeCOOKS Cooking Classes that lay ahead.
Since this time I have read many other books and learnt a lot more about the importance of what you eat, you could say I have now become quite passionate about the whole thing and feel some responsibility to pass the message on. A big focus of my janeCOOKS Cooking Classes, is to educate and demonstrate, how to cook and eat well for a family. To eat well, wholefoods, everyday food that brings life to your body, to know what you are eating, where it came from and what has been added to it or subtracted from it, on its journey to your table and ultimately into your body.
I thank the many people who are trying to offer us an alternative to the highly industrialised and highly processed food that is becoming mainstream in the Western world.
I thank the many farmers who have taken the organic road, mainly out of passion, principal and personal conviction, rather than economics and the accumulation of wealth.
I thank people of influence like Stephanie Alexander, Kylie Kwong and Jamie Oliver, who could retire comfortably and do nothing, but instead are promoting sustainable living, by investing and fighting for the education of the next generation. Preserving the right of children to enjoy a home grown and home cooked meal and battling against diet related disease in young people, that often occurs because of lack of options or money to buy wholesome food.
I appreciate the dedication required for me to be able to enjoy the experience of eating out an organic restaurant in Sydney, such as "The Peasants Feast" in Newtown and "Agape Restaurant" in Botany and "Billy Kwong" in Surry Hills.
I am impressed by the many organic suppliers, including the one I use "Lettuce Deliver Organics" who source and supply wholefoods, local, seasonal organic produce to my door.
I appreciate authors like Cyndi O’ Meara, an Australian woman living in Queensland, a nutritionist, speaker and educator on eating for good health. Her very balanced and doable book “Changing Habits Changing Lives” is a wonderful, life changing read.
Michael Pollan, an American, well known and distinguished author, whose books I discovered on my recent trip to the US, is an advocate for “Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants.” He has written five books including “In Defence of Food” “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and my favourite “Food Rules”.
Just this weekend I went to see a film called "FOOD,INC." which is currently playing at Cremorne Orpheum, as well as in Newtown & Paddington, in Sydney. Whether this film will make it out of the independent cinemas, onto the silver screens of the big players and to the mainstream is questionable. The very essence of the film is an independent voice trying to be heard and seen amongst the mainstream. In my opinion it is a voice that needs to be heard, the film relates a message all should be aware of, a message not just about you or your future, but one that affects your children, your neighbour and fellow man and the environment in which we live.
I encourage you to step out of the mainstream, to let your current choices and mindsets be challenged, to take a look at the food you eat, the habits you have, which determine the lifestyle you live and the health you endure or enjoy.
Read one of these books, go see the movie, eat out at one of these restaurants, enjoy some organic produce. Believe with me, that if enough people demand good wholesome food, even the big players supplying our food will supply it and the price will come down based on demand. As the consumer we can create demand by our choices, by what we choose to buy. The day will come, when you can buy yourselves and your kids, in season, a punnet of fresh organically grown raspberries or half a dozen crunchy organic apples, for the same price as a dozen cinnamon donuts!
Nothing is impossible!
Food Inc Movie Trailer
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
Jamie Oliver http://www.jamieoliver.com/school-dinners/what-you-can-do
Lettuce Deliver Organics
janeCOOKS Cooking Classes